Morning stretch and breathing routine

Come what may I begin each day with a round of Qi Gong stretching and breathing that gets me integrated with the day and refreshed. The beauty of the practice is that I can do as little or as much as time allows.

If you're looking for something quick and easy to do to get you going in the morning and have limited time then you might want to give this routine a go.

Start in a standing position with the feet parallel hip distance apart and tilt your pelvis forward, which stretches the spine. Sink and feel rooted through your feet. Then take 3 breathes - inhaling  through the nose and exhaling  through the mouth.

Step 1 - Rest the hands gently on the abdomen then, whilst bringing  your attention on your breathing,  take 3 further breathes as above.

Step 2 - Then, whilst breathing in, draw the hands apart at a distance of 2-3 inches. From the abdomen raise the hands up the central energy channel line and bring your hands to your chest.

Step 3 - With your hands to your chest and the elbows raised fully,  extend the arms out to the horizontal position whilst exhaling. Then take 3 breathes - in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Step 4 - With another inhalation stretch the arms up above your head. Then,  whilst stretching the arms, exhale. Whilst stretching upwards take 3 breathes - inhaling  through the nose and exhaling  through the mouth.

Step 5 - Then slowly bring the hands down to just above the top of the head,  before moving them down over the back of the head and neck to the shoulders, tracing the surface of the body but keeping the hands about 2 inches away.

Step 6 - With the hands finally resting on the back at waist level take 3 breathes -  inhaling  through the nose and exhaling  through the mouth.

Step 7 - On exhaling bend forward. Follow the meridians at the back of the legs until the hands reach the floor. (Bend your knees as much as necessary to avoid back strain.) Remain in this position whilst taking 3 breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Step 8 - With the hands facing the inside part of the leg and whilst breathing in draw the hands up the leg as if to bring  up the energy and then come to rest on the abdomen and exhale.

This sequence of movements forms one cycle and may be repeated many times depending on how much time you have.

Regular practice will enable you to undertake these movements with ease and fluidity.

Taken from Neal's Yard remedies - Natural Health and Body Care.

Time allowing I will also combine this with a further routine that activates joints and limbs and takes less than 5 minutes.

Step 1 - Remain standing and start by circling the ankles one at a time - first clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
Step 2 - Then do the same circular motion with first the knees and then the hips.
Step 3 - Moving upwards  do a few  downward thrusts with the arms and shake the hands.
Step 4 - Then, whilst holding the jaw, open and close the mouth several times.
Step 5 - Next hold  the ear lobes and  wiggle them about whilst smiling broadly and opening the yes widely.
Step 6 - Finish by dropping your arms to the side and shake your limbs and body vigorously for as long as it feels good.
Step 7 - On stopping, stand  still for a few seconds and enjoy the sense of calm whilst  becoming aware of being rooted to the floor.
Step 8 - Finish by doing 3 sweeping circular movements with the arms. With each upward arm stretch go onto tip toe and then lower onto the soles of the feet as the arms drop.

Et Voila! Ready for a new day.

To enhance the energising quality of the practice if I can, weather permitting,  I try and do this activity out in the garden whilst facing east and the rising sun but it works well anywhere.